The official start of the 2016-2017 flu season began Oct. 1. Now is the
time to get your annual flu vaccine as peak flu season typically runs
December through March, and it takes two weeks for antibodies to develop
and help protect you from getting the flu.
“Getting vaccinated against the flu can be lifesaving, especially
for the very young and the elderly, and helps prevent spread of disease,”
explains Steven Mosher, M.D., board-certified physician, Infectious Disease
Care Center, a strategic affiliate of Southeast Georgia Health System.
“Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every
year, unless they have had a prior severe allergic reaction to the influenza
vaccine or a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a severe paralyzing
illness.” An egg allergy is no longer a contraindication to receiving
the vaccine and should be discussed with your physician.
This season, only injectable flu vaccines flu shots should be used. Some
flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four
flu viruses. LAIV, or the nasal spray vaccine, is not recommended for
use during the 2016-2017 season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
Mosher further explains that a new vaccine is developed each year based
on research indicating which virus are likely to be most common in the
upcoming season. While a flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, there are
different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot,
including: soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given; fever
(low grade), and aches. These side effects are mild and short-lasting,
especially when compared to symptoms of a bad case of flu.
As Mosher points out, “One remembers when they get ‘real’
- In addition to the flu vaccine, additional everyday precautions can also
be taken to help prevent the spread of flu. The Centers for Disease Control
recommend the following:
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu–like illness, stay home for at least 24
hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other
necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw
the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available,
use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Southeast Georgia Health System and its strategic affiliates offer flu
vaccine at several locations throughout the area. Please contact your
health care provider or call 1-855-ASK-SGHS (1-855-275-7447) for more
information on a location to obtain a flu vaccine.